Mushtaq offers reverse-swing tips to England bowlers
Mushtaq Ahmed, the England spin-bowling coach, has said he has been sharing tips on the art of reverse swing with England's fast bowlers. Mushtaq is a former team-mate of two of the foremost exponents of reverse swing, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
"Regardless of my coaching, they [England's bowlers] are doing extensive work in the nets [on mastering reverse swing]," Mushtaq told reporters in Lahore last week. "They have realised that apart from the gym work, developing skills is equally important. They do discuss all the factors of reverse swing, but credit must be given to them for attaining it. The most inspiring thing is they [practice] in the nets, otherwise bowlers these days don't work on their variations. They just wait for the ball to get old.
"I have experience with the likes of Wasim and Waqar. Both were the best in the business, so I am sharing my past experiences with them. They [England bowlers] do discuss the angles, the importance of using the crease, and a lot of other minor factors that could help. I am happy that things are being applied, and that they are getting results out of it."
Mushtaq, 43, is currently with England on a consultancy basis. In the 1990s, he was one of the key members in Pakistan's bowling line-up, along with Wasim and Waqar. While elaborating on how to maintain the ball, Mushtaq said it's all about taking care of the shiny side.
Pakistan has faced accusations of ball tampering from the English press since the early '90s, though no formal evidence was ever found. Both Wasim and Waqar were able to obtain prodigious movement with the old ball, a phenomenon which was later termed reverse swing.
"In my time, I used to take care of the ball, and I had to keep it in the best shape so that the utility of the ball did not go off," Mushtaq said. "They asked me to keep one side of the ball dry, and not let it [get] wet by any means - which is a very important part. The more you look after the ball, the better the result you will attain. Players these days throw the ball with one bounce on the pitches to get the ball rough, but maintaining it thereafter is a skill."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here